From Ahmad Ibrahim, Lokoja
Efforts are being made by the Kogi State Government to upgrade the Lokoja Annual Dankwo Fishing Festival to an international standard, the Administrator of the local government, Hon. Lawal Shiru has disclosed.
Shiru made this known yesterday while flagging off the commencement of the festival amidst tight security, following threat of violence, as a result of clash between Lokoja and Onumaye, a neighbouring community over ownership of the fishing pond.
The administrator commended the state government for its determined efforts to move the state to enviable heights, saying the steps to upgrade the fishing festival would no doubt improve the socio-economic well-being of the people of the state.
He disclosed that the people of Lokoja have been celebrating the fishing festival for close to 100 years, saying there has never been a time when they jointly celebrated the festival with anyone, even as he stressed the need for the people of the area to continue to maintain peace.
He equally commended the state commissioner of police, Mr. Ali Janga for his concerted efforts in providing adequate security for a hitch-free festival, saying the high presence of law enforcement agents has no doubt encouraged large turnout of people to the occasion.
Also speaking, the state commissioner of police, Mr. Ali Janga described Kogi as a peaceful state, urging the people of the state to remain law abiding, stressing however that the command would do the needful to checkmate any threat to peace.
He expressed delight that the festival was held under a peaceful atmosphere, stressing the need for the youths not to do anything that would disrupt the existing peace in Lokoja and its environs.
The police boss maintained that volence does not pay, saying anyone caught threatening the peaceful co-existence in the state would be dealt wiith accordingly, even as he expressed happiness that those who signed the peace treaty concerning the fishing festival have all abided by their commitments.